The Role of Accuracy for an INTP.
Is it a gift? A curse? Well… it’s probably not mutually exclusive.
As a test-identified, but predominantly self-prescribed INTP, to describe my relationship with choice as inseverable may still be a light choice of words. You can probably tell that within this past statement itself, the possibility of infinite word choice has already got my mind running. Or rather, striving, for accuracy of shared dialect to reflect personal thoughts. An impossible mission, in my opinion.
This incessant need to wordsmith for accuracy is not just within the context of language, by the way. To be clear, the incessant need for accuracy in general, in all other realms (interpersonal understanding, data-analysis, pattern-forming, etc), is equally as strong.
The strive to be as close to accuracy as possible is very real.
Strive? or Struggle?
At times, it’s a process that drives knowledge. In that sense, it’s play. At other times, it’s a process with an outcome that’s never quite satisfying. In that sense, it’s wasteful.
Let’s break that down.
Point A: “Accuracy is a process that drives knowledge, therefore, it is considered play”
Learning is a never-ending process (the first and last cliche phrase I will drop). To the INTP, this fact is 100% sacred. When INTPs learn something, they can’t just stop understanding at the superficial level. They go deep. But not only do they go deep, they go wide.
Why? Two reasons. Because INTPs are naturally, extremely curious. Also, because every piece of information is naturally tethered to an infinite number of other pieces of information.
That means that if one day I decide to read up on consumer culture, I’m going to want to approach it from all angles.This is where we go wide. Some initial thoughts may include: What does consumer culture mean from an economic point of view versus a social one? Thinking about both past and present - what are the origins of this culture, how has that shifted overtime, what are the predictive states of this culture for the future? From a personal perspective, I’ll consider it both subjective and objective standpoint — how have I contributed to consumer culture, how am I apart of it? But also, is there a way I could dissociate myself from it and realistically cease participation?
The true belief behind this way of thinking is that every concept is simply built by the sum of its parts. This is key to how an INTP looks at an idea.
Every idea, every concept, every thought is comprised by the sum of its parts.
It would be ineffective to look at something solely by its whole. Understanding each of these parts strengthens the mind and to INTPs, use of the mind is their strongest function.
However, these parts may never be fully understood for there are too many components of each part to be understood. Not only that, but information is constantly in flux and ever changing. At any point in time, the wholesome picture still represents a snapshot in time.
This is where we get to..
Point B: “Accuracy is a process with an outcome that’s never quite satisfying, therefore, it may be considered wasteful”
It’s like trying to break down a table to its smallest form. You can take apart the desk from its legs. You can take apart of the nails from the wood. You can break wood down into dust. You can put dust under a microscope to see its atomic form. But every atom is still comprised of protons, neutron and electrons and within those, there are finer particles that exist. And within those particles, even more minute particles… the magnitude for how deep you go is infinite.
This is true with things the eye can see, but also true with things the mind can see. Complete knowledge, on even one minuscular topic, is ungraspable.
However, that’s not to say we can’t move closer and closer to closing the knowledge gap. The move itself is a fascinating journey for the most part. Because once you understand the underlying principle behind a concept, you discover that that principle can be shared to describe disjointed phenomenons. This is how the INTP discovers their creativity.
For instance, economic market cycles are cyclical, they will always rise and fall. The economy works in this way, so does the stock market. However, again, depending on how close or far you zoom in and out, you may notice a larger trend of the market uptrending or downtrending. With every zoom in/out, the trend orientation may change. Such is a simple principle that may be applied to one’s emotional states. If you’re observing your own emotional state within a short period — a day, perhaps — you may be quick to conclude you’re having a good day. Zoom out to look at a greater period — say, a year — and you may adjust to think.. actually, times have not been so good. But zoom out enough to observe the full picture — from birth — and perhaps you’d more clearly discover that the overall trend as been rising. Again, simplistic example, but under these principles of ‘everything exist in a cycle, and that within enough zoom in/zoom out, you may see the bigger trend’, this can then be applied to the spiritual sphere of mindfulness — to remember to stay aware and ‘look at the bigger picture’. This creative applications can be tied to what the INTP considers play.
Accuracy, is therefore, pivotal to how the INTP makes sense of the world. It’s so ingrained in personality that the process of getting to accuracy feels almost second nature. The mind is constantly buzzing to look at situations from multiple angles. To compare and contrast, weigh all the options and move forward only when understanding is clear so that nothing is sidestepped. It’s a gift that endows INTPs with wisdom beyond whatever topic at hand they are researching, though, the amount of time and energy that goes into garnering such vast amounts of information may present itself as an opportunity cost if conducting such thorough levels of analysis leads to a missed opportunity in other areas of life.